Friday, March 23, 2012

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Dave Philley

I came across some sad new last weekend when I read that Dave Philley, who had been the oldest living Oriole, passed away. He was 91 years old, and had lived a nice long life, but I never like to hear about a former Oriole's passing. Dave had been nice enough to sign and personalize this Orioles Crown card for me back in 2009 and I had my card back in just one week from when I sent it.

Dave played 18 seasons in the Majors between 1941-1962, and missed almost four complete seasons between 1942-45 due to his military service during WWII. He played for the Orioles in 1955-56 and again in 1960-61; when he made his Orioles debut on July 3, 1955, he was just the 67th player to appear in a game for the O's.

He is best remembered for being a plus defender in the outfield, but it was back in the time before the Gold Glove awards were issued, so he never had the chance to earn any hardware for this fielding prowess. He also became an excellent pinch-hitter later in his career and still holds a few pinch-hitting records. His eight consecutive pinch hits in 1958 is tied for the single season record, and when he began 1959 with a successful pinch hit in his first at-bat, he set the MLB record with 9 consecutive pinch hits, a record that has held up for over 50 years. I also read that his 24 pinch hits and 72 pinch hit at-bats in 1961 are American League single season records, but wasn't able to confirm it.

Now that Dave has passed away, the oldest living Oriole title is passed on to Wally Westlake, who is just slightly older than Eddie Robinson; while both are currently 91 years old, Wally was born slightly over a month before Eddie.

RIP Dave, thanks for taken the time to sign for me (and many others) over the years.

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